Iron Butterfly's longtime drummer Ron Bushy has died at 79.
The rock band announced the news in a statement to Facebook, explaining Bushy died Sunday at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital with his wife and daughters by his side. According to multiple reports, Bushy had been battling oesophageal cancer at the time of his death.
"He was a real fighter," Iron Butterfly added. "He was born Dec 23, 1941. He will be deeply missed!"
Before joining Iron Butterfly in 1966, Bushy performed with The Voxmen. The band was acquainted with Iron Butterfly, which was known as Palace Pages, then Jerry, and the Geritones, at the time. In an interview with Andrew Daly for Vinyl Writer Music, Bushy said, after changing its name, Iron Butterfly relocated to Hollywood with hopes of breaking into the music industry. The move inspired The Voxmen to follow suit.
"When we got to Hollywood we got a job at the Sea Witch on Sunset for $7 a night for the whole band," Bushy recalled. "Iron Butterfly was playing at Bido Lidos on Cosmo Alley, so I went to see them. They asked me to sit in, and after the first song, they turned around and said, 'We want you in Iron Butterfly.' I told them, 'No, I'm loyal.' They pleaded with me to join, so we switched drummers. Their drummer liked The Voxmen better, and I became Iron Butterfly's drummer."
Bushy was the only original member to record on each of the band's six albums between 1968 and 1975, according to Classic Rock. In 1977, he left the band, which saw several members come and go, but rejoined the following year. He remained with Iron Butterfly until the band split up in 1985 and was part of the group when it reconvened in 1987. The band has not released a studio album since the 1970s but remains active playing live shows.
Commenting on the band's decision not to release new material, Bushy told Daly, over the years, several band members decided they did not want to be making music full time. Other members have since passed away and the band made the decision to stick to just playing live.
"We are all older and have retired with our great memories of our accomplishments within the music industry," Bushy added, "and our personal lives."
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